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The Open Cloud: Red Hat’s Perspective

February 15, 2012 No Comments

SOURCE:  Red Hat

Openness in software and architectures is a big win for users. This truth is so widely recognized that a lot of vendors seem to favor using “open” as a sort of mantra even though they’re often not, well, open except in glancing and incidental ways. This is nowhere truer than with cloud computing.

Having an open architecture and approach when building a cloud matters deeply. Only an open cloud allows customers to manage diverse infrastructures by bringing them together under the same cloud architecture. Instead of creating a new cloud silo or forcing them to (impractically) start their IT over from scratch, an open cloud extends its benefits to their entire IT infrastructure, delivering greater efficiency and agility and putting them in control of their technology roadmap and, ultimately, the future of their IT.

But what does “open” mean in the context of cloud? It certainly doesn’t begin and end with the submission of some format to a standards body or with an announcement of partners endorsing some specific technology platform. And open source may be (or in our view, should be) a given. But it’s more than that too.

An open cloud has the following characteristics:

  • Is open source. This allows adopters to control their particular implementation and doesn’t restrict them to the technology and business roadmap of a specific vendor. It lets them build and manage clouds that put them in control of their own destiny and provides them with visibility into the technology on which they’re basing their business. It provides them with the flexibility to run the workloads of their choice, including proprietary ones, in their cloud. Open source also lets them collaborate with other communities and companies to help drive innovation in the areas that are important to them.
  • Has a viable, independent community. Open source isn’t just about the code, its license, and how it can be used and extended. At least as important is the community associated with the code and how it’s governed. Realizing the collaborative potential of open source and the innovation it can deliver to everyone means having the structures and organization in place to tap it fully.
  • Is based on open standards, or protocols and formats that are moving toward standardization and that are independent of vendor and platform. Standardization in the sense of “official” cloud standards blessed by standards bodies is still in early days. That said, approaches to interoperability that aren’t under the control of individual vendors and that aren’t tied to specific platforms offer important flexibility. This allows the API specification to evolve beyond implementation constraints and creates the opportunity for communities and organizations to develop variants that meet their individual technical and commercial requirements.

Read More from Cloud Computing Group at Red Hat

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